We recently came across a new tool that claims to build powerful, functioning websites without any need for developers or designers. Still in prototype, the Grid isn’t simply a website builder – it is a full-fledged developer that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to create online properties from scratch.
The Matrix is almost here – a futuristic world in which countless functions once dependent on human blood, sweat, and tears will be replaced by intelligent robots that do all of the thinking for us.
The shift is already happening.
And before you think that Web designers (and software testers) are immune to automation, check out this enlightening YouTube video by CGP Grey. According to him, even professions that rely on creativity, decision-making, and pattern-recognition could eventually get replaced by AI.
But is the Grid cause for alarm? Should you (or anyone within the IT world) begin looking at other career options?
Maybe. But not quite yet.
Why Software Testing Is a Secure Field: Reason 1
For starters, the Grid has yet to launch – and there is no proof that this revolutionary technology will even work. Every day, we read about new breakthroughs that galvanize the public but never become commercially viable. We’re talking about everything from flying cars to perpetual motion machines to limitless energy.
The Grid looks exciting – and promising. But until we see proof of concept, we’ll reserve judgment.
Why Software Testing Is a Secure Field: Reason 2
Second (and most important), technology doesn’t always displace humans. In fact, it often creates more opportunities than it destroys. The MP3 (and Napster) threatened the music industry. And then along came iTunes and the iPhone – 2 platforms that created unprecedented job opportunities for entrepreneurs, programmers, and musicians all over the globe.
And we can cite countless other examples of “disruptive” technologies that didn’t “disrupt” nearly as much as experts predicted:
- Visual programming languages allow novices to create software and websites on their own. And yet, developers enjoy more demand now than at any time in IT history.
- WordPress, Joomla!, and other CMS platforms allow startups to create custom Web templates from scratch (without professional designers). And yet, the number of Web design contracts on oDesk and Elance has never been higher.
- Self-management infrastructure nearly removed the need to host on-site IT staff. But in an age of growing data breaches and security threats, IT professionals are more important than ever before.
- Online, searchable property listings promised to make real estate agents obsolete. But job growth in this sector is expected to keep pace with the national average for other employment opportunities.
And of course, automated software testing was supposed to render our services moot. This clearly never happened. In fact, our solutions now enjoy unprecedented demand as the number and complexity of software applications increase year after year.
But Will Software Testing Continue to Thrive Tomorrow?
All of the above examples are historic. And just like with the stock market, past performance isn’t always a good indicator of what could happen in the future.
However, I remain confident that software testing (as a human-based industry) will continue to thrive for many years to come. CGP Grey’s case is compelling. He makes a strong argument for why no profession or industry is entirely safe.
And he could be right. Jobs go extinct all the time. And intelligent computers can develop certain skills at a much faster rate than humans can.
But growing complexity often requires greater control – especially human control. And the increasing sophistication of today’s applications creates unprecedented, unknowable opportunities that must be rigorously developed and tested on an ongoing basis.
Automation doesn’t beget more automation. It begets more testing.
Take the Grid for example. This revolutionary tool is currently in prototype. And it will remain so until some software tester out there has given it the green light.
This trend is likely to repeat with all technological breakthroughs in the foreseeable future.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.